Champion of Champions Final: Senna vs Schumacher

Champion of Champions

Champion of Champions: Ayrton Senna vs Michael Schumacher

After almost 20,000 votes, Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher have been drawn against each other in the Champion of Champions Grand Final.

In a way it’s quite appropriate, as it presents one of the great unanswered questions of modern Formula 1.

Namely, how the 1994 season would have played out had Senna not lost his life at Imola three races in. And how much longer these two would have gone on fighting for race victories and championship titles.

Their achievements in Formula 1 are sufficiently well known (and have been covered earlier in this series several times already) that they hardly require repeating.

It’s down to you to pick which of these drivers stands out among F1’s 32 title winners as the Champion of Champions.

Cast your vote below and explain who you voted for and why in the comments.

Ayrton Senna Michael Schumacher
Ayrton Senna, McLaren, Hockenheimring, 2004 Michael Schumacher, Ferrari, Hockenheimring, 2004
Titles 1988, 1990, 1991 1994, 1995, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004
Second in title year/s Alain Prost, Alain Prost, Nigel Mansell Damon Hill, Damon Hill, Mika Hakkinen, David Coulthard, Rubens Barrichello, Kimi R??ikk??nen, Rubens Barrichello
Teams Toleman, Lotus, McLaren, Williams Jordan, Benetton, Ferrari, Mercedes
Notable team mates Alain Prost, Gerhard Berger, Mika Hakkinen Nelson Piquet, Eddie Irvine, Rubens Barrichello
Starts 161 268
Wins 41 (25.47%) 91 (33.96%)
Poles 65 (40.37%) 68 (25.37%)
Modern points per start1 11.68 14.05
% car failures2 20.50 8.21
Modern points per finish3 14.70 15.30
Notes Won three titles in four years with McLaren Missed several races in 1999 after breaking his leg at Silverstone
Controversial clash with Prost sealed second title Retired in 2006 after 11 seasons with Ferrari
Killed in third race for Williams in 1994 Returned with Mercedes in 2010
Bio Ayrton Senna Michael Schumacher

1 How many points they scored in their career, adjusted to the 2010 points system, divided by the number of races they started
2 The percentage of races in which they were not classified due to a mechanical failure
3 How many points they scored in their career, adjusted to the 2010 points system, divided by the number of starts in which they did not suffer a race-ending mechanical failure

Which was the better world champion driver?

  • Ayrton Senna (54%)
  • Michael Schumacher (46%)

Total Voters: 806

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Third place play-off

In true World Cup fashion there’s also a play-off for third place:

Which was the better world champion driver?

  • Alain Prost (45%)
  • Juan Manuel Fangio (55%)

Total Voters: 715

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You need an F1 Fanatic account to vote. Register an account here or read more about registering here.

Read the F1 Fanatic Champion of Champions introduction for more information.

These polls close on February 13th.

Champion of Champions – voting so far

Champion of Champions table

Champion of Champions table (click to enlarge)

Thanks to Emory McGinnis for producing the Champion of Champions table.

Champion of Champions

Browse all Champion of Champions articles

Images ?? Honda (Senna), Ferrari spa (Schumacher)

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450 comments on Champion of Champions Final: Senna vs Schumacher

  1. LuvinF1 said on 5th February 2011, 19:20

    So far, not at all what I expected. Instead, I thought both polls would be neck-and-neck.

  2. matt88 (@matt88) said on 5th February 2011, 19:24

    that’s harsh.
    Senna’s always been my idol, although i’ve never seen him racing.
    Schumacher’s been the man who’s brought Ferrari back to the top after 20 years and has won more championships than anyone.
    Both have won most of their championships with the dominant car, but Senna had to fight in the same team with one of the four-five best drivers ever, while Schumacher had only sparring partners. Barrichello and Irvine were good drivers but nothing more, and at the same time the team was only on Michael’s side (i still regret of Austria 2002…).
    I think this time heart is stronger than pure maths, so i stand for Senna, his record of pole positions (Schumacher had a lot of time to beat him) and the amazing drives (Monaco 1984, Interlagos 1991 and Donington 1993 above all) can’t be compared to numbers and percentages.

    • LucienTodutz (@lucientodutz) said on 5th February 2011, 20:53

      you all Senna fans are joking, right?

      you all accuse Michael for having inferior team mates… well guess why is that? because MICHAEL WAS SO GREAT compared to all others… also you forget that Prost did most of the testing work at Mrec at that time! hello!!! like it was already said somewhere on this blog, that a reason why he also left the team… he did the homework and Senna took the winnings!!!

      • LucienTodutz (@lucientodutz) said on 5th February 2011, 20:56

        did Schu’s team mates build the car for him??? no, it was his achievement, his work and his merit!!! not like Senna who always moved to the best team around… for ex. from Merc to Williams

    • David-A (@david-a) said on 7th February 2011, 1:42

      his record of pole positions (Schumacher had a lot of time to beat him) can’t be compared to numbers and percentages.

      His pole position record IS a number. And not as important a number as wins, which Schumacher beat him in 2000.

  3. junior said on 5th February 2011, 19:26

    Senna is the greatest driver of all times, today, tomorrow and forever, this is undeniable.

  4. sw6569 (@sw6569) said on 5th February 2011, 19:29

    Schumacher and Prost for me.

  5. Burnout (@burnout) said on 5th February 2011, 19:31

    Interestingly the closest fought match till now is Schumacher vs Clark in the Quarter finals. Only 4% points between them. It’s also the second-most voted on, after Hamilton vs Button.

  6. Stefanauss (@stefanauss) said on 5th February 2011, 19:34

    One has just to read the stats.
    For what the stats can’t account for, the early 2000s dominance he had was everything but random. He was responsible for that, he built it bit by bit. Can’t be said for any other driver, including Senna who gave up at the same task.

  7. Senna.

    The third place playoff is much much harder so I simply refuse to vote, haha.

  8. Like I said before in the Schumacher Vs Prost Semi.

    Schumacher is more than a driver, he is a master in so many fields. His ability, his fitness, his psyche, his passion, his willingness to succeed and how he with others as well built Ferrari from a midfield team back to glory.

    Senna & Prost didn’t do what Michael did, they just jumped ship if they didn’t have the best car. Michael built his success and he is the greatest for it. He could of done what they did and could be possibly a 10 time World Champion by now but a lesser Champion at that. Jumping in to the best car every year is easy but building a family over time and making them the best is the real achievement here and the best achievement.

    There’s only one Michael Schumacher

  9. sennaboy3 (@sennaboy3) said on 5th February 2011, 19:49

    I tend to read A LOT into what former drivers have to say, especially highly respected ones like Sir Stirling Moss who says of Schumacher, “…if you’re talking about the best drivers of the past 30 years I don’t think he’d be in my top three, I really don’t.” Enough said…SENNA

    • Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 5th February 2011, 19:55

      Sennaboy, it’s not about the best driver, it’s about the best champion, and there is a lot more than just driving the car that determines the champion of champions.

    • @sennaboy3 that’s your opinion and Moss but for other including Niki Lauda and Murray Walker say MICHAEL SCHUMACHER in their top 3, even the greatest of them all.

      • sennaboy3 (@sennaboy3) said on 5th February 2011, 20:52

        Actually, Walker just released his own top drivers recently & Schumacher did NOT make the cut (neither did Senna)…Furthermore, Murray Walker is not a former driver so he doesn’t really relate to my argument. Would like to see where Lauda puts Schumi into his top 3??

        • sennaboy3 (@sennaboy3) said on 5th February 2011, 21:00

          if your curious, Walker’s Top 5 was: Moss, Clark, Prost, Fangio & Stewart.

        • Then again it’s his opinion he ever said that before that for sure. As Lauda one, look at F1 Racing December 2006 Schumacher tribute issue “He’s the greatest no one will ever match him, as long as he lived” Niki Lauda. You can see the cover here:
          http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/F1-Racing-Schumacher-Tribute-Issue-December-2006-/270687971776

          • Correction….“He’s the greatest. No one will ever match him, as long as we live” Niki Lauda

          • sennaboy3 (@sennaboy3) said on 6th February 2011, 0:33

            This quote proves nothing for me. Could mean, ‘greatest’ in terms of championships, which I concur will probably never be matched. However, for reasons gone over ad nauseam in other posts, championships tell only part of the story. I have a hard time believing Lauda thinks Schumi is the greatest of all time.

          • And Moss opinion prove nothing for me too, like Mlracing said “i don’t think quoting mr moss is a very good choice. For the reason he is almost always negative about Schumacher.”
            Believe it or not.
            David Coulthard also hailed Schumacher as the greatest all-round racing driver in the history of Formula One if you are interested.

          • Patrickl said on 6th February 2011, 19:03

            The F1 drivers voted on this same subject at the beginning of the season and they voted (by a big margin) for Senna. Schuamcher came in second en Fangio third.

          • I know that but i think i have to quote Mlracing again:”anyway i think Senna is perceived different because of his tragic death.”

    • Mlracing (@mlracing) said on 5th February 2011, 20:35

      i don’t think quoting mr moss is a very good choice. For the reason he is almost always negative about schumacher.

      i think senna and schumacher belong in the top 5. But naming a top 5 all time drivers will always cause alot of discussion and disagreement.

      anyway i think senna is perceived different because of his tragic death. Not meaning he wasn’t one of the best see my top 5 statement.

  10. Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 5th February 2011, 19:52

    Schumacher takes it. For all the reasons everyone else has listed. The most complete driver ever to race in Formula One. Maybe Senna had more raw speed, but that’s about it. To counter drives like Senna at Donnington in 93, Schumacher had Spain in 96. Schumacher just takes it.

    For final validation, Schumacher has more wins than all the other current drivers FOR 2011 – COMBINED.

  11. tdncfmkyh said on 5th February 2011, 19:53

    Unfortunately the two drivers in the third-fourth place vote should have been in the first-second place vote. Fangio should have won, as I am not aware of him doing something dastardly in his racing career. Senna, Schumacher and Prost all did, especially Senna and Schumacher.

    • sw6569 (@sw6569) said on 5th February 2011, 23:16

      Fangio demanded that other drivers get out of their car so that he could race…!

      On track, prost was the cleanest of the four I would say, although with the lack of technology available, I admit it is difficult to rate fangio

  12. coreyray76 (@coreyray76) said on 5th February 2011, 19:56

    Why do we have to decide between these two? It is like trying to pick between you two favorite beers. Impossible to choose because we may and do love them for different reasons. Senna, so much passion, anything to win, always on the limit. Schumacher, calculating, always able to perform at his best when he needed to do so. Both were able to do with different teams, and had to pay their dues(unlike some people today, i.e. Hamilton) in lesser teams. Senna was taken from the sport to early, and there will always be what ifs, which gives him this mystical allure. Having said that, you can always look at what Schumacher has accomplished, his records are staggering. Cheers to them both. I cannot decide. I don’t think we have to decide. Lets love them both for they are, different, and the same.

    • Burnout (@burnout) said on 5th February 2011, 20:47

      As Keith said in the beginning of this series, it’s quite difficult to compare drivers of different eras. And in this case even though their careers overlapped, Schumi and Senna belong to different eras. So one can’t be completely fair in judging between the two.

      That said, it’s amusing to pick an “overall” winner during this surprisingly silly “silly season”. It also throws up facts about drivers we wouldn’t have known before.

  13. Loetkoe (@loetkoe) said on 5th February 2011, 20:13

    104-105 with my vote being 105th one for Fangio! Wow :D

  14. The New Pope said on 5th February 2011, 20:22

    My vote goes to Senna, but it was very close.

  15. The New Pope said on 5th February 2011, 20:23

    That said, if Michael wins another championship before he retires, he is the greatest of all time.

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